If you are facing misdemeanor criminal charges, you will likely be sentenced to probation if convicted. Probation is a serious court order that requires astute discipline and cooperation by you, the defendant. Just one broken rule or violation of your probation terms and conditions can get you into a whole other set of legal troubles, which does nothing more but impose more penalties and lengthen your time under the supervision of the law.
Continue reading to learn some basic information about probation, keeping in mind that cases vary from person to person depending on the unique circumstances of their criminal history, convictions, and more.
Misdemeanor Offenses Can Pose a Wide Range of Penalties
A misdemeanor crime is a lesser offense compared to a felony and cannot be punished by more than one year in jail according to federal law. However, misdemeanors still come with an extensive list of possible penalties if convicted. The types of penalties and the severity of punishment will vary from person to person depending on their criminal history.
While some will get off with minor penalties and setbacks, others may face actual jail time. Typically, judges prefer to sentence minor misdemeanor convictions with fines, community service, and probation, in lieu of incarceration. Fines can reach up to $5,000, and community service can range between 10 hours and over 100 hours, depending on the circumstances of the conviction.
You are NOT a Free Member of Society on Probation
Although probation is a tool used as an alternative to incarceration, a person is not technically a free member of society. Like all others, an individual on probation must adhere to all local, state, and federal laws; however, they must also obey a whole separate set of rules until their time is served. The rules of probation will vary from person to person depending on the nature of their conviction and criminal history.
Most often, individuals on probation are expected to remain in the state, maintain full-time employment, refrain from committing any further crimes, and stay out of contact with other convicted criminals. Those convicted of intoxication-related crimes will likely have to refrain from alcohol consumption, take drug and alcohol education courses, go to a victim impact panel, and even have their drivers’ license suspended.
Probation Officers are the Real Deal So Take Them Seriously
In all cases of probation, a person is assigned a “probation officer” who has the role of overseeing their case and supervising their progress. This is a real officer of the court who will request mandatory check-ins, usually month to month, or every other month, during which they may implement a routine drug screening and ask questions regarding their rehabilitation.
Any changes that may occur during a person’s probation period must be communicated with their assigned officer, including addresses, phone numbers, employment, health, and more. They might even have to ask their officer for permission to travel outside of the city.
If a person breaks a rule of their probation, their officer will immediately notify the judge who originally sentenced them, and the person will face additional criminal charges. If this happens, it is possible for a judge to revoke probation privileges and impose jail time.
Are you currently facing criminal charges in Indiana? Or did you just violate your probation? Contact Attorney David E. Lewis at 317-636-7514 to speak with a skilled and aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. Act fast so that you may avoid the maximum penalties for your probation violation.